Chapter 9: Killing the Corpse
Translator: Novel Saga Editor: - -
Shi Mu was surprised by the zombie's unexpected appearance. This allowed it to pounce on him with a loud howl.
A smell of rancid rotten fish was emanating from its body. Shi Mu took a deep breath, cleared his mind, and immediately wielded his saber.
His wrists moved actively as he handled the saber, generating a strong and cold light which soared forward.
Pang! Shi Mu slashed the monster's chest five times in quick succession. But the dull cuts seemed as if they had fallen onto a dead tree, and left nothing but a few shallow wounds, barely grazing the surface. Drops of green blood trickled out of the wounds, but to no real effect. The corpse spread its arms wide and pushed Shi Mu down with force.
Shi Mu was astonished beyond his wits. Up until this point, he was entirely sure about the strength and experience he had gained from running wildly in the rain, wearing the heavy black armour.
He did not require any previous knowledge of martial arts to wriggle out of the grasp of the monster's thick arms. Then, he quickly turned to face its back.
"Hah!" Shi Mu shouted as he struck the monster's waist five times with his saber, before it had a chance to react.
The monster howled in anger when inflicted with these superficial wounds. The three spectators were left shocked as it wrenched its body backwards, turning its upper body 180 degrees around. Then, it violently pounced on Shi Mu's head.
"Boom!" It was impossible for Shi Mu to dodge this attack, for he had not anticipated it. Shi Mu frantically began attacking with his knife, but was met with a powerful force in return, which sent his whole body flying.
A broken stone column abruptly stopped his flight. As Shi Mu began to rise, he coughed out blood, feeling rather lightheaded.
The corpse rushed forward and attacked low for the second time, giving Shi Mu no chance to escape. Shi Mu did not attempt to dodge the attack this time, but shouted as he struck out with the saber and delivered six different cuts. The fierce successive cuts gave out a dull sound. The force used by the boy had been so immense that the knife flew upwards at the collision, before finally finding its way into a crossbeam. As for Shi Mu, he was thrust backwards by the collision.
The monster let out a shrill sound as the force of the violent attack pushed him backwards as well. It had four new scars on its arms, and another two long ones on its face, oozing out a large amount of green blood.
A thought struck the middle-aged man, and he shouted anxiously to Shi Mu, "Young brother, the head is its weakness". What he did not expect, however, was that his voice would attract the monster's attention towards him. The monster directed its anger, now, to the annoying helper standing by the fire. The monster was well aware that, alone, Shi Mu was anything but an easy prey.
"No," the middle aged man was scared out of his wits. However, he bravely stood his ground in front of his daughter, and cast out the dagger at the monster. He then turned around to tightly hold the girl to his chest, in order to act as her armour.
The monster brushed away the dagger as easily as if it was dust. And with its other hand, it ripped open the man's chest, its sharp fingers halfway into his body.
"Ah!" the man shouted in pain as his blood gushed out. His daughter grew pale and, on seeing her father in pain, began screaming in despair.
Then something strange happened.
The monster had opened its rotten mouth and was lowering its head, but the girl's screams made him tremble, forcing a sudden shout out of him. It withdrew its arms from the man's chest and staggered back, as if some unknown agony had taken possession of him.
Seizing the opportunity, Shi Mu rushed to the monster's back, his movement stirring a sudden puff of wind and dust. He jumped three meters high and began punching the monster's head mercilessly. Boom! His two fists were like iron hammers at the forge, aiming right at the monster's weakness. An exploding sound was heard with each hit, such was his superhuman strength. Innumerable drops of green blood began to splatter in all directions, as the monster's head was split open like a melon. Shi Mu moved back so as to not come in contact with the ominous green-blooded rain.
The corpse twitched twice, and then fell heavily on the ground.
Shi Mu steadied his body and clenched his fists, his face losing a bit of its colour. The mortal wound had been delivered in less than a moment. However, Shi Mu would not have succeeded in killing the monster if it hadn't been disturbed by the girl's sudden scream. That being said, his superhuman strength undoubtedly had a huge part to play in the success. He had acquired it because of his nearly accomplished Stone-Breaking Fist. No ordinary disciple would have been able to injure the monster's head with bare hands, despite it being his weakest point.
"Father!" the girl called out grievously.
Shi Mu turned to see the mortally wounded man. His daughter was leaning over his body, trying desperately to stop the blood coming out of the large holes in his chest. Her hopeless efforts were made redundant by his ceaseless bleeding.
"Young boy, young boy..." said the pale faced middle-aged man, as he called out desperately to Shi Mu, ignoring his own daughter.
"Stop talking father. Save your energy while I find a doctor for you," the girl cried.
"It's too late, Xiu. I have enough medical knowledge to know that. My heart has no strength now, and I have but a few moments left. My life has given me plenty of good times, but, I have one regret today before dying. That regret is you," the man smiled bitterly in response, casting an anxious glance at Shi Mu.
Her father's words broke the girl's heart.
"Uncle Zhong, do you have any last wishes?" Shi Mu lowered his body as he walked up to the man, sighing in despair. He was quick to understand that trouble was to follow, but knew that it was impossible to avoid it now.
"Little brother, it must have been destiny that made me meet you here. Now that my life's ending, I can't bear the thought of leaving my little Xiu all alone in this world, unprotected. So please look after her..." the man said, gasping for breath.
"There's no need for me to look after your daughter. Is she not engaged to be married into the Wu family? Although, I can promise to escort her there," Shi Mu said, surprised at the request.
"The Wus? Haha. I would have found a way to get her married into the family if I was alive, but now... they will no longer acknowledge the engagement. My daughter will only be..."
"Then I shall take her to your other relatives," Shi Mu frowned, interrupting.
"We have had no relatives ever since our family came into poverty. My little Xiu, listen, you no longer have an engagement with the Wus. Little brother, you are obviously no average man. I do not ask you to take my daughter as your wife, but please at least let her be your concubine. I can rest in peace only if she lives safely. As a warrior, this family heirloom will be of use to you. Take it as my daughter's betrothal gift. If you cause her any harm, I will become a vengeful spirit and curse you!" the middle aged man said quickly in his last moments. He then produced a wooden case from his shirt and thrust it forcibly into Shi Mu's hands.
After a loud cry, he stopped breathing.
"Father!" the girl cried.
Her father's words had left her too surprised to weep. But his death forced tears out of her eyes, and she wept as she leaned over his body.
Shi Mu was speechless, and had no idea what to do about the matter.
"Young master, my father was quite delirious in his last moments. Don't take his words seriously. Please escort me to the Wu Clan in Feng City," the girl stopped crying after some time. Her eyes were swollen, but her back was now straight and firm.
"Miss Zhong, I do believe that it would be quite rude of me to do as Uncle Zhong asked. Also, please take this case back," the girl's words relaxed him a bit. He sighed and passed the case back to the girl, seeming quite embarrassed.
"I've never seen this case myself. But I will not take it back, for my father gave it to you in person. Besides, I would not be alive if it weren't for you," the girl said, declining the offer.
"Alright then, Miss Zhong. Don't address me as young master anymore. My name is Shi Mu, and you can call me that. Well, the rain has stopped. We must bury your father now, or animals may find their way here because of the body," Shi Mu said after a moment's hesitation, taking the case back.
"Then I'll rely on you for help. Brother Shi, you may call me Zhong Xiu from now on," the girl said. The girl had gained strength after crying, though still seeming fragile.
On the hill behind the temple, the girl knelt beside a tomb and made three loud kowtows to her father, suppressing her anguish. Later, she left with Shi Mu, turning back once to see the tomb.
The two returned to the temple to find that the monster's body had began to rot at an alarming speed. The hall was polluted with a stinking smell, the source being the large amount of green fluids which were leaving the monster's body.
The scene scared Zhong Xiu, and she was too frightened to take a single step.
Shi Mu frowned and said, "It's unsafe to leave this strange thing here. Miss Zhong, please wait here for a moment while I deal with it."
The girl nodded in agreement.
Shi Mu then walked out of the hall, and returned after a while with a bunch of thick leaves in his hand. He walked up to the body with the huge leaves, covered it briefly, and lifted the corpse out of the hall.
Pa! Something fell from the leaves.